Energy Committee

Exciting and fascinating information at Energy Committee last night –

  • Town administrator of Dartmouth was the guest, and he explained how that town, for a small investment (he estimated it at $35K) encouraged private third party development of seven solar photovoltaic installations, most on privately owned land, with the town reaping major economic benefits via the town entering into power purchase agreements. As a result, Dartmouth will be saving an estimated $7 m. over 20 years.  The town merely zoned to allow the PV arrays anywhere in town, and then just issued RFP’s to third parties to provide PV generated power to the town via the power purchase agreements.  Private developers then approached the town to provide the power on privately owned sites (15-20 acres) via the power purchase agreements.  The town then contracted with those third parties to obtain the PV power for 20 years at 8 cents/KWH, which the utility is required to buy at 12 cents/KWH.  The utility issues credits to the town for the PV electricity, enough credits such that the town pays for its own electric needs via those credits.  It works because the town’s long term stability  and credit worthiness is an essential element for the third parties looking to contract for the power purchase agreements – private parties in place of the town would not allow the deal to happen.  $35K invested, plus time of town officials, and it returns $7 m.  The Dartmouth town administrator left us all the documents they used to make it happen.  Mike Sullivan wants us to start by pursuing a PV array on 2 acres of town owned land next to the Waste Water Treatment Plant and questions whether we have any 15-20 acres sites on which private PV arrays could be built.
  • Mike Sullivan reported that the big news from the DEP review of the Waste Water Treatment Plant energy efficiency was that Medfield was already the most energy efficient of the 23 plants they had audited.  Kudos to those running the WWTP for what they have already done for the town.

2 responses to “Energy Committee

  1. Is it possible to look into installing Solar PV on the roofs of existing town buildings instead? An engineering or feasibility study could be performed for any of the schools in town and I’ve noticed that several have very large, flat rooftops that may be ideal for these systems. I didn’t know if that had already been considered. It would also make for a great learning opportunity for students and increase awareness for sustainability planning. It also makes more sense to use existing unused/unoccupied developed land for PV use since developing untouched land will present a negative environmental impact and counteract the overall goal of resource conservation.


    • Selectman Osler "Pete" Peterson


      Charlie Kellner, the town’s very able Business Manager for the schools, is on the Medfield Energy Committee, and from past meetings I recall Charlie says that he has looked into doing just what you suggest, and the answer was, as I recall what Charlie said, not to do it until you need to replace the roof. The solar PV arrays are good for about 20 years, and one does not want to have the expense to remove and replace the PV arrays when one needs to replace the roof.

      The Building Committee says it is looking into whether PV can be placed on the new DPW garage.

      I know from discussions I had with solar PV providers, that they can install a kiosk at the schools that will show the electricity being generated – great learning opportunity for the kids.

      Also, look at what I wrote about how the Town of Dartmouth effected $700,000 of savings per year by having just putting out RFP’s to buy electricity generated by PV and letting others build the solar PV wherever. I do not think those PV sites would even have to be in Medfield.



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